Tuesday Recap: Michigan Moves Streak to Three

January 18th, 2012

Given how reliant Michigan is on the three-point shot, many would think it highly unlikely that John Beilein's team would win a game in which they shot 6-for-21 from beyond the arc. But thanks to a late basket from Stu Douglass and some solid defense on the final possession of the game, that's exactly what happened as the Wolverines beat in-state rival Michigan 60-59 at Crisler Arena. Trey Burke scored a game-high 20 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Zack Novak scored ten points apiece, but Novak's biggest contribution came on the defensive end of the floor. 

Despite giving up three inches in height the senior did an outstanding job of guarding Draymond Green, with Green making three of eight shots for seven points. Green, who did grab 11 rebounds, also turned the ball over five times against a Michigan defense that held him scoreless over the final fifteen minutes of the game. Michigan State fought their way back into the game by shooting 52.4% from the field in the second half, and it didn't hurt to have a reserve in Derrick Nix score a season-high 13 points off the bench.

Brandan Kearney's three with 6:45 remaining gave the Spartans their first lead of the game at 50-49, and at that point it would have been easy for the Wolverines to fold. But they didn't, remaining within striking distance thanks in part to a switch to their 1-3-1 zone before taking the lead on Douglass' bucket that Burke assisted on with 36.5 seconds remaining. And while Michigan State did get two attempts to take the lead in the final seconds neither came without pressure from Michigan (one of which was blocked), resulting in opportunities that weren't as good as the Spartans would have hoped for.

"We really tried to completely deny Draymond the ball," said Beilein of the final sequence of the game. "You almost have to double him sometimes. We had to today, and then he passed the ball out of there. Fortunately they didn't have any success with either one."

Michigan's win means that they remain a player in the Big Ten race, which is currently led by Illinois by a game in the loss column. The Wolverines have won the last three games in the series, but while the recent run of success gives Michigan bragging rights it's just a portion of the big picture. Both teams remain contenders for the Big Ten title, meaning that the meeting in East Lansing on February 5th will be just as important in determining whether or not either team can win the league. Round one goes to Michigan.  

Other Notable Happenings 

1. Florida State builds on Saturday's win by whipping Maryland in Tallahassee.
On the heels of their emphatic win over North Carolina it would have been easy for Florida State to go into their game against Maryland dwelling on what happened Saturday. But Leonard Hamilton's team displayed both maturity and some offensive firepower on Tuesday night, beating the Terrapins 84-70 in their second straight excellent performance. One factor in the Seminoles' win was that they took care of the basketball, finishing the game with just nine turnovers (four in the second half). Michael Snaer led the way with 19 points while Ian Miller and Okaro White combined to score 31 points off the bench in a balanced effort for the Seminoles.

Maryland's Terrell Stoglin led all scorers with 27 points but the only other Maryland player to reach double figures was Nick Faust, and he finished with ten points. Florida State was balanced in their scoring and efficient in their execution, which led to them leading by as many as 21 points in the second half. FSU visits Duke this weekend, and it will be interesting to see if they can continue to play as they have the last two games. If so, the Seminoles have the ability to leave Durham with a win. 

2. UNC Asheville extends its lead in the Big South to two games with a win over Coastal Carolina.
All six players who scored for Coastal Carolina reached double figures, with Sam McLaurin scoring 17 points to lead the way, but it wasn't enough to win at UNC Asheville due in large part to the Bulldogs' ability to get to the foul line and take advantage of those trips. Eddie Biedenbach's team attempted 33 free throws and made 31, winning 88-81 to take a two-game lead in the Big South as a result. J.P. Primm scored 23 points to lead the Bulldogs and Matt Dickey added 19 with 12 of his points coming from the foul line.

While it's well-known that this tandem is a handful, when they score a combined 20 points from the foul line Primm and Dickey are near impossible to beat. With the victory the Bulldogs took an important step towards the regular season crown, and with the champion getting to host the semifinals and title game of the Big South Tournament that's an important advantage to have. The goal for CCU now is to at the least remain two games back before the two teams meet again on Valentine's Day, and if they can get some help as well the Big South title would still be a realistic possibility.  

3. Anthony Davis breaks Kentucky's single-season blocks record in the Wildcats' win over Arkansas.
In freshman Anthony Davis it's become quite apparent that Kentucky head coach John Calipari has a player that is extremely difficult for opponents to deal with. And now there's also the historical aspect of Davis' freshman campaign, as he is now the school record-holder for the most blocked shots in a season with 89 (blocking seven on Tuesday) and still counting. The blocked shots weren't Davis' sole contribution however as he scored 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Wildcats' 86-63 win.

Five players reached double figures for Kentucky, who shot 57.1% from the field and out-rebounded Arkansas 38-26. Doron Lamb scored 14 points off the bench, Terrence Jones (13 points, nine rebounds and five blocks) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ten points, four rebounds and four assists) were both all over the stat sheet and Marquis Teague played arguably his best game in a Kentucky uniform with nine assists and four rebounds with just three turnovers. With all of their young talent Kentucky's got unlimited potential, and the fact that the Wildcats have yet to play their best basketball should concern the rest of the SEC.   

Quick Hitters

1. One of the keys for getting into the NCAA Tournament is to avoid bad losses, and that's exactly what Colorado State did in their 66-55 win over Boise State. Dorian Green scored a game-high 20 points and Pierce Hornung grabbed ten rebounds off the bench as Tim Miles' team moved to 2-0 in Mountain West play. 

2. Louisville, which has been hit hard by injuries this season, found out on Tuesday that forward Rakeem Buckles was done for the year with a torn ACL. Buckles, who averaged 4.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, injured himself in the Cardinals' loss at Marquette on Monday. 

3. So Western Carolina took on Toccoa Falls on Tuesday night as they wanted to avoid having too much time off between games. The final score: 141-39. Nine Catamounts scored in double figures and two others scored nine points, and WCU also held a 62-19 edge on the boards. Things got out of hand in Cullowhee. 

4. Campbell picked up a 54-51 win at Winthrop, and as a result the Camels are tied with Coastal Carolina two games behind UNC Asheville in the Big South. Eric Griffin scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half while also grabbing 11 rebounds, and the Camels outscored Winthrop 13-4 over the final 6:40 of the game.

5. Robbie Hummel scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Lewis Jackson added 14 as Purdue rebounded from a slow start to beat Iowa 75-68 in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers shot just 41.1% from the field but they out-rebounded the Hawkeyes by nine (41-32) and coverted 13 Iowa turnovers into 20 points.  

6. Georgetown proved to be too much for DePaul, winning 83-75 at Allstate Arena, but the improvement that the Blue Demons have made under Oliver Purnell is definitely noticeable. Outside of Jeremiah Kelly and Krys Faber the rotation is young, meaning that as upperclassmen talented players such as Brandon Young and Cleveland Melvin will be well-equipped to improve the standing of the program within the Big East. 

Three Notable Performances

1. F/C Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
27 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks in the Wildcats' 86-63 win over Arkansas. 

2. G Jason Clark (Georgetown)
Career-high 31 points (11-14 FG), five rebounds and four steals in the Hoyas' 83-75 win at DePaul.

3. G Nick Barbour (High Point)
33 points (11-16 FG) and three assists, but he didn't receive much help in the Panthers' 85-66 loss at Radford.